Why Russia is threatening to ban Wikipedia because of the war in Ukraine

The Kremlin is threatening to block Wikipedia to users in Russia over an entry on the invasion of Ukraine that includes facts and figures detailing Russian military casualties as well as the number of dead Ukrainian civilians.

Editors of the Russian-language Wikipedia site received a memo from Roskomnadzor, the government censorship office, which warned editors that the article in question violates Russian law, according to Twitter user Aric Toler.

As of 9 a.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, the Wikipedia entry listed the number of Russian and Ukrainian casualties — though estimates provided by authorities in the two countries vary.

According to Ukrainian officials, 352 civilians were killed by the invasion while 1,684 were injured. More than 110 Ukrainian soldiers died in combat.

The censors told Wikipedia that the article “contains false messages about terrorist attacks or other types of information of public interest disseminated under the guise of reliable information that threatens the life and (or) health of citizens…”

The Kremlin is warning the page’s editors that they risk violating Russian federal law if they don’t remove the entry.
Kirill Kukhmar

The Russian government claims that 200 Ukrainian soldiers were killed compared to only two Russian soldiers.

Ukraine, meanwhile, claims that the number of Russian military casualties is much higher – 5,710 soldiers dead and 200 taken prisoner.

Toler’s tweet was spotted by Motherboard, which confirmed the authenticity of the Russian government memo.

An editor of the Russian-language Wikipedia page told Motherboard that Roskomnadzor has sent them dozens of similar memos demanding censorship of the pages over the years.

The editor told Motherboard that they likely won’t respond to the memo except to add other sources to the article.

The Russian acronym Roskomnadzor stands for “Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media”.

Building Wikipedia
The editors of the Russian-language Wikipedia site said they had no intention of responding to government censorship demands.
Jeremy Moeller

The Wikimedia Foundation said on Tuesday that it is “actively working with affected communities to identify potential threats to information on Wikimedia projects and supports volunteer editors and administrators who serve as the first line of defense against the manipulation of facts and knowledge.” .

New York Post

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